Although it may be tempting to skip if you’re pressed for time, it’s essential to make sure you stretch after a workout – it can help prevent muscle soreness and bodily injuries, as well as increase flexibility and circulation.
Here are some of our favorite post-workout stretches to perform to better your whole body. Trust us: your body will thank you tomorrow! (And before starting your post-workout stretches, be sure to cool down and reduce your heart rate by doing some light cardio, like walking on the treadmill for a few minutes.)
This is a great stretch for your hips, lower back, and inner thighs. In a seated position, press the soles of your feet together. With a straight back, place your hands around your ankles or feet and draw your knees toward the ground. For an added bonus, exhale and lean forward from your hips (don’t round your back!), using your elbows to press your knees closer to the ground. Hold this stretch in 30-second increments.
Standing Scissors Hamstring Stretch
Step your right foot back about two feet. Keeping both your back and legs straight, bend forward at the hips. Hold for 30 seconds and then switch to your left side. This stretch can also be done while lying on your back; with both feet up in the air, move them in a scissor-like manner so that you are pulling one leg close to your head and the other is going away from the head. This is one you’ll definitely be feeling in your hamstrings.
Stand with your feet about twice your shoulder’s length apart. With your right hand straight above your head, exhale and bend your upper body to the left, stretching out your oblique (side) muscles. Don’t forget to keep your core engaged! After holding for 30 seconds, switch to stretch your left obliques. To get an even deeper side stretch, cross your right foot over your left foot, and bend to the left with your right arm over your head. Switch sides.
While standing, raise your right arm over your head. Bend at the elbow, with your hand landing between your shoulder blades. Use your left hand to gently push your elbow down, towards your head. Hold this stretch for 15 seconds, and then switch to stretch your left arm. Your triceps and shoulders will thank you for this one!
Cat Cow Pose
Channel your inner cat and cow with this feel-good stretch for your core and back! As an aptly named popular yoga pose, this one can be especially nice if you’re used to sitting at a desk all day. Begin with all fours pressed into the ground, with your hands directly below your shoulders and knees in line with your hips. Inhale and sink your core towards the ground, bringing your gaze to the ceiling. With an exhale, round your back up, tuck in your tailbone and core, and look down. Repeat at least five times per pose.
Do you have a favorite post-workout stretch? Comment below and fill us in!